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April 6, 2009

White House Announces More Members of the Faith-Based Advisory Council

The White House just announced additional members of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Each member of the Council is appointed to a one-year term as part of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

The religious leaders and scholars who were added have an asterisk by their names, and the members that were previously added are after the jump.

*Dalia Mogahed, Executive Director, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies
Washington, DC

*Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President, Disciples of Christ (Christian Church)
Indianapolis, IN

*Anju Bhargava, Founder, Asian Indian Women of America
New Jersey

*The Rev. Peg Chemberlin, President-Elect, National Council of Churches USA
Minneapolis, MN

*Bishop Charles Blake, Presiding Bishop, Church of God in Christ
Los Angeles, CA

*Nathan Diament, Director of Public Policy, Orthodox Jewish Union
Washington, DC

*Harry Knox, Director, Religion and Faith Program, Human Rights Campaign
Washington, DC

*Anthony Picarello, General Counsel , United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
Washington, DC

*Nancy Ratzan, Board Chair, National Council of Jewish Women
Miami, FL

Diane Baillargeon, President & CEO, Seedco
New York , NY

Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association
Chicago, IL

Dr. Arturo Chavez, President & CEO, Mexican American Catholic College
San Antonio , TX

Fred Davie, Senior Adviser, Public/Private Ventures
New York , NY

Pastor Joel C. Hunter, Senior Pastor, Northland, a Church Distributed
Longwood, FL

Bishop Vashti M. McKenzie, Presiding Bishop, 13th Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church
Knoxville, TN

Rev. Otis Moss, Jr., Pastor emeritus, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church
Cleveland, OH

Dr. Frank S. Page, President emeritus, Southern Baptist Convention
Taylors, SC

Eboo S. Patel, Founder & Executive Director, Interfaith Youth Core
Chicago, IL

Melissa Rogers, Director, Wake Forest School of Divinity Center for Religion and Public Affairs
Winston-Salem , NC

Rabbi David N. Saperstein, Director & Counsel, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Washington , DC

Dr. William J. Shaw, President, National Baptist Convention, USA
Philadelphia , PA

Father Larry J. Snyder, President, Catholic Charities USA
Alexandria , VA

Richard Stearns, President, World Vision
Bellevue , WA

Judith N. Vredenburgh, President and Chief Executive Officer, Big Brothers / Big Sisters of America
Philadelphia , PA

Rev. Jim Wallis, President & Executive Director, Sojourners
Washington , DC


And the point of this Council is what? (One thing's for sure: with so many members, they'll never get anything done.)

I am sorry that there seems to be no representative of the Anglican Church, The Episcopal Church of the United States of America, which is one of the MOST inclusive and progressive churches in this country.... we welcome ALL Baptised Christians, and are working hard in support of Bishop Jean Robinson and others who are frequently rejected and/or despised by other churches.

I got the impression that the council doesn't make policy, but gives advice and council, individually or as a group, to the White House, on matters of Faith Based and Neighborhood organization policies, programs, services and practices.

As a former professor, this many diverse people wouldn't be thought of as a problem to the President, they don't have to reach a consensus, as in a jury, after all, but as a rich source of experience and information to mine.

As the President was a Constitutional law professor, he wouldn't expect a "right" or seemingly obvious or intuitive answer to many things anyway...but would likely keep digging for better thought out, more rationally organized, nuanced, accurate with raw data and basic facts as possible, historically comprehensive, and deeper layered answers.

They'll likely be listened to attentively, but that doesn't mean that their advice and council will be heeded...after all, the council is a diverse group of people unlikely to agree unanimously about most anything except the most vaguely worded, warm and fuzzy generalities.

I would like to send a message to
Dalia Mogahed, Executive Director, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies
Washington, DC
and congratulate her for the new position in the white house.
What is the right personal e-mail and her work phone and fax number. I would like to consult her in my case.


Lina Shehab
T: 973-243-6791
T: 212-306-3192